He went to rehab and eventually found guidance and support from peers like Paris Jackson and Jamie Lee Curtis. Stanfield and Curtis first met while making Knives Out in 2018; despite not sharing many scenes together, their first interaction, which came when Stanfield took a cigarette break, was charged. “I probably said something to the effect of ‘You’re a gorgeous, talented, smart, young father with huge opportunities ahead of you: Don’t fuck it up by dying of cancer that you can prevent,’” she recalls, laughing. They both wept. Stanfield quit smoking.
They established a strong enough connection for Curtis, who’s had her own battles with addiction, to reach out to Stanfield last year after hearing from a mutual friend that he was thinking about sobriety. “My experience is that when you feel you are alone, that’s a very scary feeling,” Curtis says. “So what I was trying to say to him was, ‘You are not alone. And if I can be a source of comfort or understanding, then I hope you will allow me to do that.’” He did, with the two of them exchanging texts and calls as he continued to work. One moment sticks with him. “She asked me, ‘How old are you?’” he recalls. “I was like, ‘Uh, about to be 30.’ And she said, ‘No, how old are you from when you became sober?’” He replied: “‘Oh, I’m about seven months.’ And she goes, ‘You’re seven months old. I am 23 years old.’”
Atlanta last aired way back in 2018, by which point it had already solidified Donald Glover as a bona fide auteur, entered the one-of-the-greatest-shows-ever conversation on the strength of just two audacious seasons, and made stars of the rest of the cast. Season three picks up where the season-two finale left off, with the central characters heading to Europe, but production found its cast and crew in decidedly different places in their lives. Filming was on location, and Stanfield traveled on Air Gambino: “I flew out with Donald, and he basically has a jumbo-air airplane that is his own personal—I don’t know if he owns it or what, but the motherfucker’s big and there were three levels, and it was only me, him, and Brian [Tyree Henry] on it.”